The US Navy continues to conduct freedom of navigation operations
in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, which Chinese authorities consider a provocation.
Beijing unwelcomes US intrusion into the business of South China Sea, it farther translates US claims of Freedom of Navigation Operations
into' Provocative Operations' which the US advances through the series of conflicting attempts of patrolling into the 12 nautical miles of South China Sea provoking China to act aggressively.
America's freedom of navigation operations
in the areas claimed by China is provocative.
The US military conducted freedom of navigation operations
last year challenging maritime claims by 13 countries, including Iran, the Pentagon said Monday.
Russel encouraged claimants and those who depend on open sea lanes to refrain from activity that could trigger conflict including "reclaiming land, building facilities and militarizing features." The United States will invest in "maritime domain awareness for coastal states and carrying out freedom of navigation operations
." The US Senate has yet to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a legal mechanism for settling such international disputes.
The US has sent navy vessels through the areas claimed by China as "international freedom of navigation operations
," but otherwise has found responding difficult.
China, which is currently in control of the vast majority of islands, reefs and shoals in the area that are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan, has repeatedly accused the US of provocations in the South China Sea, while Washington has claimed that it is conducting freedom of navigation operations
The AMTI director also noted that freedom of navigation operations
of other countries aside from the US are also factors for China's aggression in the disputed waterway in the past year.
The United States will continue to exercise its right to fly, sail and operate in the disputed South China Sea and in other areas where international law allows it, notwithstanding the statement of a ranking Chinese military officer who called for Beijing's more aggressive stance against the US' freedom of navigation operations
in the disputed waters.
A retired Australian defense general has warned officials to avoid freedom of navigation operations
close to Chinese artificial islands in the South China Sea.
A US Navy spokesman underscored Washington's position that US freedom of navigation operations
were meant to "protect the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law."